Archive for January, 2016

5 Starter Steps to Batch Processing using Adobe Bridge

31 Jan

Post-processing can be a minefield. Beginners especially can feel overwhelmed when confronted by amazing software, that can do almost anything, like Photoshop for example. However, everyone starts from somewhere, and not everything is terribly confusing. I am personally a fan of simplicity, when it comes to technology. Let me share with you a few simple steps on how to get started batch processing using Adobe Bridge.


Editing in Bridge is super simple, and as easy as one – two – three. Open your file, edit your photo, save your file. I will walk you through it, and try to demystify the first step in post-processing, without touching Photoshop.

What is Adobe Bridge?

Bridge is part of Adobe’s Creative Suite, and is a media browsing application. It is an app that enables you to view your entire computer contents, manage and organize your digital files, and edit your photos without the need to import and file them in various catalogs elsewhere. For photographers specifically, Bridge simplifies the first step in the editing process, because within Bridge you can do the following easily, to name a few:

  1. Browse photos
  2. Rate photos
  3. Delete photos
  4. Rename, move, or copy multiple files at the press of a button
  5. Organize your files using various filters so you can perform your desired function in batches
  6. Watermark, copyright and manage metadata information


Adobe Camera Raw

To edit photographs in Bridge, you need to have Adobe Camera Raw, a powerful plug-in that allows you to edit and enhance any photo, including JPGS. RAW files however, can only be opened, and read, in Adobe Camera Raw.

I would suggest that you shoot in RAW. Here is a good article about RAW vs JPGS which explains the benefit of shooting in RAW format. I shoot in RAW, and always edit from that format in Bridge, as my starting point. If you photograph in RAW, make sure you have downloaded Adobe Camera Raw, preferably the latest version, onto your computer before you can edit the files in Bridge.

A first word

This tutorial is a very basic suggested process of editing in Bridge, meant to aid your understanding if you have never used Bridge before. I do not claim it is the better way of editing nor the perfect way; it is one option, among many others available. Bridge is my personal preference over Lightroom, and I choose to use as much or as few of the functions in Bridge as I see fit for every image, or batch of images, that I edit. I like Bridge because, together with Adobe Camera Raw, it is straight-forward, hassle-free, and offers a non-destructive way of editing.

Loading your images

Before starting the batch processing, you need to load your images to a new folder on your computer.

My suggestion would be to download your images from your memory card, directly onto your computer. In my opinion, this is the safest, and most direct way, to copy over images from your memory card to your computer, without having to go through various software that potentially could complicate the copying process. Keep it as simple as possible to try and eliminate any malfunctions or errors right at the start. Use an external USB card reader to load your images into your computer, if it doesn’t come with a built-in one.

Put your images in a new folder clearly labeled so you know exactly where to find them. As an added step, when I copy a new set of images from a memory card on to my computer, I also immediately copy the same set to various external hard drives and cloud storage for back-up and safe-keeping. Always copy from the same memory card so you keep the transfer direct, and minimize potential errors. For example, if you copy your memory card images to a folder called Set A, do not then copy the images from Set A into another external hard drive folder; do not create this unnecessary step. Paste the same set of images from the memory card, directly where you want them stored on an external hard drive or on the cloud.

Once your images are safely copied, open Bridge. You will need to be subscribed to Adobe CC to have access to this. Subscriptions are now very affordable, compared to previous years when you had to buy a license of the very expensive full Adobe Suite just to use one software.


You will see the contents of your computer on the left side navigation menu. Find your folder, click on it and your images will be displayed on the main window. RAW files will be displayed as CR2 or CRW files for Canon cameras, NEF files for Nikon cameras and DNG for some other cameras (each manufacturer has a proprietary raw file format).

Select your RAW files, and open them by clicking the Camera Raw plug-in icon with the images selected.


As a RAW file is an unprocessed image containing all the information the camera sensor sees. It can appear very flat, and darker than what you may have seen on your camera’s LCD screen, which displays a JPG preview of your image, and as such has already been processed by the camera for preview purposes.

An important note to consider when batch processing, is that it is most effective when used on images that are photographed using similar light and settings. The main thing to remember is that you are able to apply global edits in a few steps to multiple images, but the reality is that you may still have to tweak each image as appropriate before you save it.


Batch processing

There are two ways of applying edits in batches. Below I make reference to selecting all images using cmd/ctrl+a, and making your adjustments by applying them to the images simultaneously – that is one way. The second way is to synchronize edits. To do this, use one image with all the adjustments made, then select all other images and click the synchronize button to apply the same adjustments to the rest of them.


The idea behind batch editing is that you can apply a set of edits to multiple images, by only doing the adjustments once. To do this you can either select all the images you want to edit and make your adjustments while all the images are selected –  or you can edit one image first, followed by selecting all the images (making sure the edited image is the one highlighted with the blue box around it) then synchronizing the edits across all the images. A new window opens up with a series of boxes so you can check the settings you want to synchronize across the batch. I tend to uncheck the crop and local adjustments as those settings usually need to be specifically applied to each individual image.

Here is a key point to bear in mind when synchronizing your settings across the batches: It is important to note that you only want to do this with global adjustments that you want applied to the entire batch, and do it at an early stage of editing. If you use the synchronize function at the end of your edits, when you may have made various local adjustments to each individual image, any synchronizing action done then will overwrite previous adjustments (depending on what you select in the Sync settings popup box).

Step 1: Correct Lens Distortion and Chromatic Aberration


On the left hand navigation filter, choose Lens. A dropdown menu of the lenses used appears. I correct distortion on all images photographed around the 50mm focal length and under. By clicking on the specific lens, you are filtering the set so that only images photographed with that lens are shown in the thumbnail window. Select all the images by clicking cmd/ctrl+a . With the images selected, click the camera lens icon to open the Camera Raw plug-in and window. Select the images again by clicking cmd/ctrl+a, and go to the Lens Correction tab on the right hand navigation panel. On the Profile tab click the box that enables lens correction and choose your camera and lens details from the drop down menus. If your lens isn’t in the list, alternatively you can do this manually using the sliders on the Manual tab. Click done and your changes will automatically be saved.

Often with extreme lens distortions coupled, with straightening adjustments, you will need to crop your images. Type c (keyboard shortcut) and the crop box at the top will be highlighted. Hold down the crop icon to bring up the crop ratios. By doing this, your image will be constrained to the ratio you have chosenwhen you crop. Don’t forget to click done to save your changes.

Do this for all the lenses for which you want the distortions corrected. If you are only editing a batch photographed using one lens profile, you do not need to click done just yet. You can keep making further edits before clicking done.

Next correct any Chromatic Aberration. I only do this step if I know I have taken images in bright light using a very wide aperture such as f/2 or wider. The filtering and batch editing method is the same as above. However, I do this for each image individually at 100% view as each image would have various amounts of chromatic aberration and varyious color fringing.

Step 2: Correct your White Balance


Once all the distortions on various lenses and focal lengths have been corrected, open your images again in the same way. Now you are ready to make batch edits.

Once in Camera Raw, select a set of images that have been photographed in the same, or similar light. With the images selected correct the White Balance using the eyedropper tool. You need to find a neutral area (gray, or white) to click the eyedropper tool on and aim to get the RGB numbers to read the same, as much as possible. That way you know you are getting the most neutral color in the image. You can also correct White Balance by eye if you are confident enough to differentiate color temperature, although this will be less accurate than going with the RGB values.

You will notice that the White Balance changes on all the images you selected just by setting it on one image. Images that have been photographed in different light, or at varying times, will register a different White Balance. So, batch editing an entire set of images photographed in various places in this way, will produce irregular color results.

A solution to this is to use a gray card and have this set when photographing, or set your color temperature in-camera. By doing this the White Balance will be consistent throughout your images, for that time and setting. Here is a useful article on how to set your white balance in camera using a gray card. For more information on white balance and color temperature click here.

Step 3: Correct your exposure and make local adjustments


You may want to click Auto first, to see what Camera Raw’s suggested edits are, then start making your adjustments from there. To batch process, it is important to select sets of images shot in the same setting and light to make the most of this editing function. Batch editing images that have settings in opposite extremes will very likely add to your editing time, as you will need to go back and correct all the other images, thereby doubling your editing process. This is just one of the benefits of shooting in Manual mode where you have full control of your camera settings, rather than the camera making the decisions for you. If you are considering switching to Manual mode, in case you are still shooting in any of the other modes, see: How to Learn Your Camera’s Light Meter and Master Manual Mode.


When making adjustments, it is important to keep an eye on the histogram, which is the coloured graph displayed on the upper right hand corner of Camera Raw. The histogram tells you if there is clipping occurring in the dark and light areas of your image. Clipping simply means that there is no detail left in that area, as the tonal values have fallen outside the minimum and maximum brightness boundaries, where detail can be represented in the digital image.

Type U and O together and the window will display any clipped bright areas in red. Type U and O together again to display clipped dark areas, and one more time to turn off the clipping warnings. You can then make adjustments by moving the sliders to eliminate the clipped areas. Remember to keep checking the histogram. You don’t want to clip either the blacks or the whites, you will see this on the histogram when the colours start climbing up on the left and right walls. Ideally you want the colours to be evenly distributed around the middle area until they are just touching the walls. Here is a link explaining: How to Read and Use Histograms.

Local adjustments

There are useful tools that you can use in Camera Raw, but which will not be beneficial in batch editing such as: spot removal and healing, adding gradients, straightening and cropping. However, you can edit smaller sets within the opened big batch, with ease using the same process. Regardless of the number of images, you can select consecutive images you want to edit in smaller groups, and apply specific batch edits to those images only, such as cropping and other local adjustments.



While I find local adjustments very useful, for instance brightening or darkening selected areas, warming up and cooling down specific parts of an image, and all the tools available on the adjustment brush panel, these tools need to be applied to each image individually, as necessary. Bridge and Adobe Raw can only go so far. If more fine tuning, and intricate edits need doing, you will need to take the image into Photoshop or a similar software to do so.


Step 4: Remove Noise and Sharpen

Adjusting the sliders to remove noise in an image is essential for all images, more so if you are shooting at a high ISO. Noise in a digital image is composed of the grainy look that you see, and the red, green, and blue spots that show through on the image, especially in the dark areas. The luminance slider fixes the grainy issue, and the color slider removes the dots, so move both sliders until you remove the noise.

An image shot at a very high ISO such as ISO 8000 will need a different noise reduction value than an image shot at ISO 400. If this is the case with your set of images, you can go back and filter your images again as in Step 1, but using the ISO speed ratings this time, then proceed with batch editing. This process can be tricky, but is worth the extra step, especially when dealing with higher ISOs. It is essential to view the images at 100% when removing noise, so the effects of the sliders are visible. A word of caution: do not go overboard with the noise reduction and sharpening settings when doing global batch edits. The danger is that you may end up removal detail and color. The best way to ascertain the noise removal settings appropriate for an image, is to do it on every single image, due to the ISO and exposure variables which greatly determine the amount of noise in an image. But there is no reason why you can’t apply a gentle global noise reduction setting to your batch of images, and adjust from there individually as needed.

It is always good practice to sharpen all your images, ready for output. Sharpening values vary according to the detail, and information in the image. You can apply your chosen sharpening values globally if you are confident that the values are gentle, and general enough for all the images in the batch. A little sharpening is better than nothing. Some images however, may need specific, more aggressive, sharpening values, and this is where you need to apply the appropriate value to each individual image. Similar to removing noise, the best practice is to custom sharpen each image one by one.


Step 5: Save your images

Once you have made global batch edits to your images, I suggest you go through them one at a time, in the same Camera Raw window, and make final local adjustments for each one. Type cmd+alt+p to toggle between before and after previews. There are a variety of preview formats, so play around with the options given, to choose your preferred format.

Now it’s time to save your images. This is one of the features of using Bridge with Camera Raw that, for me, trumps all others. Select all your images again, and click the Save image button. A window opens up where you can specify where you want the images saved, or create a new folder for them. You specify the format you want them saved in, as well as quality. You name the files once only, and voila they are saved. Don’t forget to click the done button to store all your adjustments. If you close the window without doing so, all your adjustments will not be saved. Always make sure your images are in sRGB and are saved in sRGB color profile.


These are only very basic steps to get you started, Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw have so much more to offer. Play around, experiment for yourself, and find out how your workflow can be even more simplified. Editing in Bridge and Camera Raw does have its limitations, especially when it comes to fine edits on skin, and blemish and hair removals, but with their batch editing functionality, you can get you to a place where you’re ready for finer edits in Photoshop, much faster than opening each image in Photoshop as a starting point, and applying the same edits one at a time.


There you have it – a few simple tips for batch processing. By saving your images in a different format, you will have your new set of edited images, while your RAW files are safe in the original folder. When you open these RAW files again they will show the adjustments you have made, but you can reset at any time if you want to re-edit from scratch. Your edited images are now ready to be further edited in Photoshop, should you want to do more creative and artistic edits, or if there are more edits necessary like head swapping, skin blemishes and hair removal as mentioned above. Bridge and Camera Raw are only the beginning, they gives you a good clean edited image to build on.

A last word

Batch editing is not for every photographer, nor for every photograph. Neither is batch processing necessary for every photography job that comes your way. But it is an option that can be easily learned, and might just save your sanity one day when you need to edit thousands of images within a short time-frame.

Here are the two images before and after editing in Bridge and Camera Raw.




Do you have other smart tips to share when batch processing in Adobe Bridge?

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Readers’ Showcase: Christopher Michel

31 Jan

Readers’ Showcase: Christopher Michel

Sunrise over Bagan, 2012. Photo by Christopher Michel

It’s telling that DPR regular Christopher Michel corresponded with me about this piece while he was en route to Antarctica. He considers freelance photography his third career, one that has taken him to the proverbial ends of the earth and beyond. From a U-2 spy plane to the North Pole, he’s searched all over for stories and images that inspire. See some of his work here and find out more about him in our Q&A.

You can see more of Michel’s work on his website and follow along with his adventures on Twitter. Would you like to be featured in an upcoming Readers’ Showcase? Let us know! Be sure to include your DPR user name and a link to your online portfolio.

Readers’ Showcase: Christopher Michel

Union Glacier Camp, Antarctica, 2013. Photo by Christopher Michel

Tell us about yourself and your history with photography.

I’m on my third career. After college, I flew for the Navy as a Navigator and Mission Commander aboard P-3 Orion Sub-Hunting Aircraft. After a tour in the Pentagon, I went off to grad school and became an entrepreneur. And for the past 8 years, I’ve been a freelance photographer and writer.

Readers’ Showcase: Christopher Michel

Moscow subway, 2014. Photo by Christopher Michel

When did you know you wanted to pursue photography as a career?

In 2008, I took stock of my life and decided that my real passion was telling stories through images and writing. I’d been taking photographs since 1998 and with each click of the shutter, my passion grew. Today, I better understand why I love photography so much. It isn’t about magnesium bodies or polished glass – nor even about great images. It’s all about where my camera takes me – and it has taken me to places I couldn’t have even imagined. Some of those places are physical but many more are emotional – conversations, friendships, and adventure that just wouldn’t have been possible without my camera and a deep commitment to story.

Readers’ Showcase: Christopher Michel

Spacesuit Selfie aboard a U-2 Spyplane at 70,000 feet, 2012. Photo by Christopher Michel

You’ve been to some pretty remote locations. Where have you traveled to photograph, and what have been some of your favorite locations?  

Well, I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a chance to photograph some of Earth’s most extreme locations – from the jungles of Papua New Guinea, to both Poles, and to the edge of space aboard a U-2 spy plane. Antarctica is my favorite place on Earth – I’m actually writing this from Ushuaia, poised to embark on my 5th journey to the Crystal Desert.

Readers’ Showcase: Christopher Michel

Morning Kora in Lhasa, Tibet, 2010Photo by Christopher Michel

What’s been the toughest assignment you’ve taken?

Fortunately, my toughest assignment was also one of my favorites. I was asked to be HH The Dalai Lama’s photographer during a three-day visit to the United States a few years back. It was an incredible opportunity to spend time with someone who has influenced the lives of millions – and he didn’t disappoint. He’s one of the kindest, nicest, and most caring humans I’ve ever met… calm, spiritual, compassionate, and full of love and humor. Everything you might imagine.

Readers’ Showcase: Christopher Michel

The Edge of Space in a U-2 Spy Plane, 2010. Photo by Christopher Michel

(cont.) So, why tough? Well, juxtapose this serene man against a backdrop of super celebrity and hyper-security. Imagine thousands of followers and fans everywhere we went – from street corners to massive venues. Imagine celebrities, motorcades and lots of armed State Department Security people. And then there is me – often finding myself between HH and all the people who want to be close to him. So, it was an almost overwhelming contrast between serenity and pandemonium. Unlike many other shoots, I had access but very little control over where I was or where we went. I tried as hard as I could to both capture the moment and blend in – I succeeded most of the time but not always. 

Readers’ Showcase: Christopher Michel

An emperor penguin jumping out of the water, 2013. Photo by Christopher Michel

Where would you like to go that you haven’t been?  

High level – everywhere. The more I visit a place, the more I feel that I’ve just scratched the surface. But someplace completely new? Well, I’d like to do a piece on the Ocean’s explorers – telling the story of the scientists and submariners who research Earth’s last great frontier. So if any explorers out there want a photographer to come along, I’m game.

Readers’ Showcase: Christopher Michel

A DC-3 in Gould Bay, Antarctica, 2013. Photo by Christopher Michel

What do you shoot with?

I use different cameras for different purposes.  

Walking around:

  • The Leica Q and/or Leica M240 (50MM Noctilux and 35MM f/1.4) 
  • General assignments (Congo, etc)
  • Carrying both Leica Q & Sony A7RII (w/ Sony FE 24-240mm). 

If I’m in more extreme locations, I use the Nikon D4 (foul weather) & D810. I’ve also been shooting the Mamiya 7II – captured some really unique shots with it at the North Pole.

Readers’ Showcase: Christopher Michel

Sunrise at Torres Del Paine National Park, 2013. Photo by Christopher Michel

Do you take on personal projects in addition to assignments? Do you have any you plan to work on in the near future?

Yes. I mostly freelance so have an opportunity to pick stories of interest and then pitch them! I’m just back from a very interesting assignment in the Democratic Republic of Congo for and the American Refugee Committee. Coming up: Antarctica, Indonesia, and Svalbard.

Readers’ Showcase: Christopher Michel

North Pole, 2015. Photo by Christopher Michel

What role has social media played in developing your ‘brand’ and business as a photographer?

Hard to say. I get lots of licensing requests from my work on Flickr. I have 1.8M followers on G+ – not sure it has made much of a difference. So, I think it is helping but it’s hard to quantify.

Readers’ Showcase: Christopher Michel

Democratic Republic of Congo, 2016. Photo by Christopher Michel

What advice would you give an aspiring photojournalist?

Well, I can say what’s worked for me. Tenacity & Love. Tenacity to get the assignment, shot and story. And love for the process and for the people I encounter along the way. I feel like I’m learning every day from the pros in the field.

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Cyberpunk Sunset: Artificial Sun Lights Up Warsaw Skyscraper

31 Jan

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

warsaw downturn fake cyberpunk sun

The developers behind a new tower rising in downtown Warsaw, Poland, have added a sunny surprise to the side of the building, aiming to brighten the moods of citizens during dark and cold months of winter construction.

polish skyscraper warsaw sun

A temporary installation, set to stay in place until the floors are occupied, was made to “brighten up the lives of people during this depressing winter time, when the days are short and you miss the sun.” It was intentionally lit on Blue Monday, thought to be the most depressing day of the year.

warsaw artificial sunlight installation

The 42-story Q22 tower is a neomodern office building developed by Polish firm Echo Investment and designed by APA Kury?owicz & Associates with collaboration from Buro Happold Polska.

80s cyberpunk

Intentionally or otherwise, the entire project evokes images of retro gaming graphics and vintage cyberpunk films like Bladerunner, in a way (perhaps depressingly) reminding residents of just how much winter they still have lying in wait.

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Review of the Manfrotto 322RC2 Joystick Tripod Head

31 Jan

Manfrotto 322RC2 Joystick Tripod Head

I don’t use my tripod extensively in the same way a landscape shooter does, but I do consider a tripod an essential part of a photographer’s arsenal.

With regard to tripod heads, I have used a ball head for many years and they are extremely versatile. They’re very quick and easy to adjust. The most basic models having a single locking screw or lever; release it and you get a full range of pan, tilt, and swivel adjustments. Once you have the camera in position, you simply tighten the screw/lever to lock the head in place.

I use my tripod essentially in the following ways:

  • When the shutter speed is too slow to hand hold my camera, and I want to get a tack sharp image (s), or shooting in low light conditions.
  • Framing the shot through the viewfinder and then taking in the scene with my eyes without having to hold my camera, or having it on me. I like to see the shot I want to to take, rather than take the shot that I see through the viewfinder.
  • Most simply to act as a perch for the camera, ready to go. I spend most of my time prepping the shot before taking it.

The ball head that I used was the Manfrotto 486RC2 compact ball head which has now been discontinued and replaced by the 496RC2.


Image courtesy of Manfrotto

Over recent months, I have found this system of loosening the screw/lever on the ball head to make small adjustments frustrating, due to the weight of the camera and lens. I had to hold the camera with one hand and move the lever with the other. This was cumbersome at times, as the lever was sometimes too tight.

This may sound fickle. But I like my gear to work efficiently, and for me not be conscious of it, or thwarted by it. I prefer to concentrate on the shot I am about to take.

It was time for me to purchase a new head but I was undecided over whether to stick with the ball head type, or try a different style head altogether. Recently, I was working on a job in tandem with another photographer. He had the joystick type head on his tripod. I gave it a go, and found it it incredibly intuitive to use.
Talk about being smitten. I just loved it. It turned out to be the Manfrotto 322RC2.



The Manfrotto 322RC2 is built out of magnesium. It weighs 1.43 lbs (.70kg).

The 322RC2 is made of magnesium, and is designed to keep the weight of your kit as close as possible to the tripod’s centre of gravity, by way of its reduced height. It weighs 1.43 pounds (.70kg), and while it’s not lightweight, it doesn’t feel heavy either, and the accompanying literature states that it can accommodate up to 11 lb. (5kg).


I have my Nikon D750 with the 24-120mm f/4G ED VR attached which is roughly 1.510kg (just over 3 lb.).

Key Features

Let’s take a closer look at the key features:

  • One single lever for quick control of all movements
  • Quick release plate with built-in secondary safety pin
  • Built-in bubble spirit level
  • Friction control, adjustable for different camera weights
  • Customizable for left or right handed use, in a vertical or horizontal position

Top view of the Manfrotto 322RC2. The trigger is big so that all your fingers rest against in when squeezing it.


Going from horizontal to vertical mode is so easy using this joystick head.

Straight out of the box, I was able to attach the head to my tripod. It does come assembled for right-hand users, but the 200PL quick release plate assembly can be removed and positioned for left-handed use. Uniquely, it can also be placed on the top of the grip in a vertical position like the traditional 222 design, but when used in this position the maximum load reverts to 2.5 kg capacity.


Top view of the end of the grip on the Manfrotto 322RC2, where you can attach the 200PL assembly plate, so that the camera sits on top, similar in deign of the 222 model by Manfrotto.

I was able to adjust the friction wheel by turning it either to the right or left. I then placed my camera and lens onto the quick release plate, and made further adjustments allowing for the weight of both. This friction control wheel lets you regulate the power of the blocking mechanism to match the weight of your camera/lens, which is key to its design.


The friction wheel scrolls to the right or left. The small red strip is the tension indicator which moves to the left or right as you adjust the friction wheel.

The built-in bubble spirit level is a nice touch. There wasn’t one on the ball head, so this feature just makes orientating your camera, horizontally or vertically, quick and easy.


The bubble spirit level is a handy feature, especially if you are adjusting your camera positions between landscape and portrait modes.


I’ve only had this joystick head a mere six weeks, so I can’t really comment on what the cons may be at this point. Obviously, this type of tripod head may not be to your liking, or suit your photography needs.

Although, this tripod head isn’t lightweight, I feel the weight justifies what it will be holding, especially when you combine the weight of a DSLR body and a large zoom lens. That said, from my experience, I only wish I had come across it sooner. The two areas I find it most useful are:


  • It is easy and intuitive to use
  • It offers very flexible camera positioning, using just one hand

In fact, the more I use it, the more I like it. Maybe over time, I will encounter some negative aspects, one thing I noticed is that it doesn’t fit into my existing tripod case with the head attached. By placing the head in a vertical position, this adds another nine inches to the total length.

I didn’t want to buy another dedicated camera tripod bag, as they can be expensive. So instead, I just bought a Hockey bag ($ 16.00) to store my tripod away when not in use, or to bring to location shoots. I now use my old tripod case for my small light stands and umbrellas.

There isn’t an independent pan lock. This doesn’t bother me, but I can see this being a necessary feature for some photographers who shoot panoramas, and so forth.


I would definitely recommend this tripod head, but I think the best advice is to test it out first. This type of tripod head is a matter of personal choice. Plus, this head is not new on the market, so check around for deals.

Disclaimer: I was not contacted or sponsored to test the above equipment. Opinions are purely by the author only.

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Better together: A photographer’s trip to Southeast Asia with a limbless man

31 Jan

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‘If I Can…’ is the motto Chris Koch lives by. Born without arms and legs, the Canadian travels as a motivational speaker, challenging his audiences to live their lives to their greatest potential and push beyond difficulties. Portrait and wedding photographer Anna Tenne happened to meet Chris before he gave a presentation in her town of Coonabarabran, Australia. When Chris mentioned to her it was a lifelong goal to visit Southeast Asia, a spark ignited and eventually inspired the two fast friends to pack their bags and head for Thailand.

Tenne’s aim was to help Chris spread his message while she photographed the journey. But what she didn’t expect, as she tells Resource Travel, was how much the trip would teach and inspire her. Chris’ contagious smile is evident in her photos, and the positive impact he has on the people he meets is plain to see. Take a look at some of her photos here and head to Resource Travel to read the full story.

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Should you Study Photography at College or are There Better Options Now?

30 Jan

If someone were to ask me whether it’s worth going to college or university to study for a degree in photography I would find that a difficult question to answer. I don’t think there is much value in studying photography at college, yet I don’t want to destroy anyone’s dreams (the good news is that there are plenty of other less expensive paths to a photography career).

If you are thinking about studying photography at tertiary level, these are the two most important questions to ask:

  1. What will you learn during your course?
  2. How much will it cost you?
photography education

You can learn a lot about photography by going to Amazon and spending a few hundred dollars on photography books, or purchase ebooks like on offer here on dPS. I’ve learned far more from books than I ever did from my photography degree.

What will you learn?

The first is important because, incredible as it may seem, you may not actually learn much while taking a photography degree. I know this is true because I studied photography at what was supposedly the UK’s top photography college, only to find that the level of teaching was so low, that I made my way through the three year degree learning next to nothing.

Let me give you an example. In our third year, the tutor gave a single one hour class per week. After a few weeks he gave up on doing that because only five or six students (out of a total of around 30) were turning up. The reason for the low turnout? Most of the others were so worried about writing the required thesis that they couldn’t concentrate on photography. And the reason they were so worried? The same tutor had spent weeks explaining how the thesis would be one of the most difficult things they had ever done, without giving any practical support or solutions to us.

Another example (bear in mind that I took my course between 1996 and 1999). We had one computer between 90 students, with an out of date version of Photoshop installed on it. The college had identified digital photography as an important trend – yet didn’t support the students enough to learn it.


By GotCredit

The truth is that degree courses are a tremendously inefficient way to learn. Whereas a typical working week is filled with 40 odd hours of work, a typical week in our course only had a few hours work. The rest of the time was wasted.

Plus, you may have the additional living costs of moving to another part of the country to study, and the loss of income from not being able to work a full time job while you are at college.

My theory is that our course was caught in bit of a time warp – the tutors probably came from an era when it was normal for arts courses to take a relaxed approach to education. University education was free in the UK at that time, and there was little concept of students paying for an education and expecting to receive value for money in return. Whether that has changed since then I have no way of knowing – I hope so.

The world of education has changed tremendously since I was at college. You can go online and learn by reading the blogs of some of the top names in the business. You can buy books, ebooks and video courses for just about any aspect of photography you care to learn about. Computers are much cheaper, and almost every student would have one.

You can also learn by taking workshops with some of the best photographers in your field. They may seem expensive, but it is a pittance in relation to the cost of obtaining a degree.

photography education

dPS writer Valerie Jardin runs photography workshops in the United States, Australia and Europe.

If you were going to study a photography degree today, the main question you have to ask is, what value does it give you over and above what you can learn from books, online resources, and workshops? Here are some ideas.

Interaction with other photography students: If you struggle to find like-minded people to talk about photography with, then this may be an attraction.

Industry experience: Does your course give you actual experience working in the area of photography that you want to get into?

Industry contacts: Very important, as these contacts will help you when you leave college to embark on your career.

Solid business training: Most photographers are self-employed, so it is essential to know the basics of self-employment and running a business. If your chosen course doesn’t teach these, then don’t even consider it. You won’t be prepared for the practical side of a career in photography.

An understanding of the newer ways of earning money from photography: Do the tutors on your course understand the emerging world of the business of workshops, and creating ebooks and video courses to sell online? This is important because these are all ways you can bring income into your business. One day there may be more money to be made from teaching photography, than from doing commercial photography assignments, and you need to be ready for that possibility.

The quality of your tutor:. Is there a highly regarded tutor at your college who can help you get started on your journey as a professional?

Another important factor is that drive and determination, combined with some innate creative talent, good business sense, and a willingness to learn are the primary characteristics you need for a successful career in photography. How many of these are taught at college?

photography education

Digital Photography School has a fine selection of photography ebooks for you to learn from.

How much will your course cost?

How much will your photography course cost you to study? The answer varies widely because it depends on where you live, and where you’d like to study. Bear in mind that graduating from college with lots of debt is a financial handicap that may hold you back for many years to come. Don’t forget to factor in living costs, and loss of income, as well as the cost of the course itself.

A good exercise is to calculate how much your course is going to cost you each week. Then, once you know how much you will learn during each week, you get a true idea of value.

In my opinion, the only reason that you should get into debt for an education is if you are studying something such as medicine, engineering or law which holds the promise of a lucrative career path at the end of it.


By GotCredit

Photography doesn’t have that lucrative career path. Some photographers make lots of money, some don’t. Lots of photography students (including some from my course) end up in careers other than photography. There are no guarantees in this business, and you need to be aware of that.

In the book The Millionaire Next Door the authors take in-depth look at the characteristics of the typical American millionaire. Most of them leave school early, start a successful business, and build it up. Very few millionaires have a college education. Why? The years spent studying (and therefore not working or building up a business) and the debt built up during that time prevents most people, regardless of qualifications or earning potential, from building up enough income or assets to become millionaires.

The solution

If you have a burning desire to make a living from photography, then look at these learning opportunities first.

  • Books and ebooks
  • Video courses provided by photographers and organizations like

    photography education

    DPS has two video courses for photographers. There are countless others available online.

  • Workshops (half-day and full-day)
  • Longer workshops (two days to a fortnight)
  • Part-time courses provided by local schools and colleges
  • Online courses provided by organizations like the New York Institute of Photography (I have no experience of these courses and no idea whether they are any good, so do your research).

All of these will be significantly less expensive than a photography degree, and can be carried out in your spare time while you have a full-time job.

Another approach is to look for a job in the industry. While you might not immediately be able to get a position that you really want (such as an assistant for a prestigious advertising photographer) you may be able to work in a related position.

For example, you might get a job working for a picture agency, a job as a receptionist in a portrait studio, a position working for a photography magazine, a job as a picture editor somewhere – you get the idea. There are lots of possibilities, and working as closely as you can to the area you want to end up will give you the opportunity to learn from established professionals and make the contacts you need to develop your career.

Given my experiences I would never advise anyone to study photography at college or university. However, I appreciate that there must be courses that are far better than the one I took. If you had a positive experience studying photography at college I’d love to hear about it, please post your comments below and let’s discuss it.

Mastering Photography

Mastering Photography ebook by Andrew S Gibson

My ebook Mastering Photography: A Beginner’s Guide to Using Digital Cameras introduces you to photography and helps you make the most out of your digital camera. It’s aimed at beginners and will teach you how to take your camera off automatic and start creating the photos you see in your mind’s eye. Click the link to learn more or buy.

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YoCam is world’s smallest waterproof ‘life’ camera

30 Jan

A new pocket-sized camera called YoCam, claiming to be the world’s smallest waterproof wearable camera, has been successfully funded through crowdfunding site Indiegogo. Available for pre-order now, Molify’s YoCam features a versatile design suitable for a variety of situations, including underwater recording.

YoCam is indeed small at 85 x 30 x 21mm / 3.3 x 1.2 x 0.8in and 55g / 1.9oz, and is compatible with mounts like clips and lanyards as well as being waterproof to a max depth of 6m / 20ft. The camera has a maximum video resolution of 2.7K / 30fps with an F2.0 aperture, 140-degree wide-angle lens. Features include P2P remote connections for live video feed monitoring, image and video stabilization, HDR, a life-logging mode for continuous capture and a looping video option.

Molify also has a line of accessories for YoCam, including a Bluetooth remote control, an adapter compatible with ‘almost every action camera accessory on the market,’ a 3-in-1 magnetic stand, clip and clamp mount, ‘AnyBar’ bar mount, a suction cup mount, wrist strap, dog harness mount and lanyard.

Pre-orders can be placed on the YoCam Indiegogo page for $ 169, while the retail price is $ 199. Shipping to backers and those who pre-order is estimated to start this April.

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Sony camera and sensor business units report drop in sales in 2015

30 Jan

Sony Corp. released its third quarter 2015 earnings report [PDF], in which the company disclosed notable drops in both camera and image sensor sales. It has also lowered the forecast for both business units, though both are still expected to make a profit in the current fiscal year.

Note the drop in camera sales but increase in operating income due to the shift to higher-end models.

Sales in the Imaging Products unit dropped by 5%, due to decreases in unit sales of digital still and video cameras, reflecting ‘a contraction of the market, partially offset by an improvement in the product mix of digital cameras reflecting a shift to high value-added models.’ In other words, they’re selling fewer cheap compacts and more RX and a7-series cameras. Operating income went up by over 20%, however, due the aforementioned shift to higher-end digital cameras.

Image sensor and battery sales are way down in Q3 2015 vs Q3 2014, and the forecast for FY2015 has been lowered considerably.

The image sensor business took an even bigger hit. Sales in the Devices unit decreased by over 12% year-on-year due primary to a drop in sales of image sensors as well as batteries. Operating income dropped ¥65.5bn ($ 540m) to –¥11.7bn ($ 97m), due in large part to a write-down in assets related to batteries. While not specific to digital cameras, the company’s statement mentioned a 7.5% drop in sales to external partners.

Sales in Q1 and Q2 2015 were down more than 500k units each year-on-year and the company’s forecast shows the gap widening in Q3 2015.

Sony also revised its October forecasts downward for both business units. The Imaging unit’s estimated sales has been reduced by 1.4% and now stands at ¥710bn (compared to ¥724bn in FY2014), while the forecast for the Devices business has been brought down by 11.3% to ¥940bn (compared to ¥927bn in FY2014). Both units are still expected to make a operating profit in FY2015, however.

On other item of note from the company’s earnings call mentions the Oita manufacturing facility it recently bought from Toshiba. Sony says that they are considering using a portion of the factory for producing ‘logic’ (processors) rather than photodiodes (sensors) in order to reduce the cost of its sensors. While the company is considering this change to ‘mitigate the downsized rate in [the sensor] business’, it is ‘confident in the long-term prospects of image sensors.’

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Manfrotto introduces carbon fiber version of its 190Go travel tripod

30 Jan
The new carbon fiber version of the Manfrotto 190Go, with the existing aluminium version behind it

Manfrotto has launched a new lighter version of its 190Go travel tripod that is made with carbon fiber. The new model joins the aluminum version of the existing 190Go, and is essentially the same other than the amount it weighs – and costs. While the aluminum version weighs 1670g / 58.9oz, the new carbon fiber model is notably lighter at 1350g / 47.61oz. Both can manage 7kg / 15.43lbs of equipment and have a maximum shooting height of 147cm / 57.87in.

The 190Go Carbon fiber will be available legs-only or in a kit with the 496RC2 ball and socket head or the new 804 Mark ll 3-way pan-and-tilt head. UK prices are as follows (US pricing is yet to be announced): 

  • 190Go! Carbon fiber 4-section – £309.95
  • 190Go! Aluminium 4-section (for reference) – £159.95/$ 199.99
  • 190Go! Aluminium kits with 3 way head or ball head – £214.95
  • 190Go! Carbon fiber kits with 3 way head or ball head – £359.95

For more information visit the Manfrotto website. 

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Weekly Photography Challenge – Something Shiny

30 Jan

Oooh shiny! Look at these images of shiny things and your eyes may glaze over.

Jenny Downing

By jenny downing

Weekly photography challenge – something shiny

What can you see near you that’s shiny? Look around, what do you see:

  • A crystal
  • Chrome
  • A watch
  • Jewelry
  • The sun

Your job this week is to photograph something shiny, and make it stand out. Make sure it glistens and sparkles in your image. Lighting is key.

Jennifer Donley

By Jennifer Donley

Marvin Chandra

By Marvin Chandra

William Warby

By William Warby

Jessica Merz

By Jessica Merz


By Allie_Caulfield

Share your images below:

Simply upload your shot into the comment field (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section) and they’ll get embedded for us all to see or if you’d prefer upload them to your favourite photo sharing site and leave the link to them. Show me your best images in this week’s challenge. Sometimes it takes a while for an image to appear so be patient and try not to post the same image twice.

Darlene Hildebrandt

By Darlene Hildebrandt

Darlene Hildebrandt

By Darlene Hildebrandt

Darlene Hildebrandt

By Darlene Hildebrandt

Ville Miettinen

By Ville Miettinen

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